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Lady of the Camellias - Spring 2010

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Armand is definitely reading Marguerite's diary at the end.

Armand has now reached the end of his narrative to which his father, much moved, has listened. They part. When Armand is alone Nanina brings him Marguerite's diary. Armand starts to read it and learns of her deep and sincere love and of the rapid disintegration of her health. Reading, he seems to accompany her on her last visit to the theatre to see Manon Lescaut. In the ballet, Manon impoverished dies of exhaustion in the arms of her faithful lover Des Grieux, who had followed her into exile.

Ill and despairing, Marguerite must leave the theatre, but the ballet's characters appear in her feverish dreams. She longs to see Armand one last time but dies alone and in poverty. Armand silently closes her diary.


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from the ABT playbill:

Armand has reached the end of his story. He will never see Marguerite again. Deeply moved, his father leaves as Nanina returns and gives Marguerite's diary to Armand.

Reading, Armand seems to accompany Marguerite on her last visit to the theatre. She sees again a scene from the ballet Manon Lescaut in which Manon, impoverished like herself, dies in the arms of her faithful lover Des Grieux.

Ill and despairing, Marguerite leaves the theatre, but the characters from the ballet follow her into a feverish dream. As the phantom lovers blend with her own memories, her identification with Manon seems complete. Deserted and longing for Armand, Marguerite confides her last thoughts to the diary, which she gives to Nanina for Armand.

Marguerite dies alone.

Armand silently closes her diary.

i hope i'm allowed to post this... otherwise mods feel free to delete. ;)

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I hope they tour with this! You guys are making it sound even more enticing than I already thought it was.

Ah, but if they tour with it, it probably won't be with Vishneva, and I think that would be a real shame!

I found this on Marcelo Gomes' twitter from yesterday morning (if I'm not allowed to post this, please delete!):

"cant wait to dance armand in lady of the camellias tonight with the very inspiring diana vishneva.last chance to see the ballet at the met"


Indeed, judging from the very warm embraces during the bows, it seemed that Vishneva & Gomes very much enjoyed dancing together last night!

When I saw them in the 5/26 matinee, I didn't think they had held anything back--but last night I felt like they really pushed every movement to the limit (and then some). Especially Vishneva--she really made the role her own, in my opinion.


As for the question about the diary/book--it was clear to me that Armand was reading Marguerite's diary at the end. From what I could see, it was dark blue/green and rather slim, whereas the book that Armand was reading at the end of Act I was red and thick. I assumed that it was a reference to the gilded copy of MANON LESCAUT that Armand gives to Marguerite in the original story, but there's no actual reference in the synopsis.

Once I found out that ABT was doing "Lady of the Camellias" last year, I read Provost's MANON LESCAUT, and Dumas, fils' Camille and saw the Greta Garbo movie, so I was very familiar with the story. Even so, before I watched the ballet the first time, I felt rather confused reading the synopsis! But the ballet played out much more straightforwardly than I had feared. The costumes and the garish white makeup definitely marked Manon/Des Grieux as being otherworldly doubles to the main leads.


Ahh, I have been listening to Chopin all day, trying to recapture the wonderful sensation of last night's ballet. Somehow I feel like the rest of the season won't be quite as satisfying...

I agree with abatt--I wish this had been taped too! I would gladly buy a DVD!!

ETA I just looked at Diana Vishneva's Facebook page, and she mentioned that ABT will be doing "Lady of the Camellias" again next year!


If this turns out to be true, then HOORAY!

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I was there Friday night for Gomes and Vishneva. My expectations were low, to say the least, since I usually dislike ballets that involve more acting than dancing, and the "official" reviews I'd read (from the Links page) were less than enticing. I agree with everyone who said the first act is a snooze; I literally dozed off, and thought about leaving at intermission. I'm very glad I didn't! It got much, much more involving. The plot is convoluted (it definitely helped that I know the opera well), but I thought the tie-in with Manon Lescaut was interesting and inventive. I got very absorbed in it. My sense is the success of this ballet depends heavily on the dancers. I didn't see the other casts, I'd guess this one was best. Vishneva was passionate, of course. But I can't say enough in praise of Marcelo Gomes. His acting was so nuanced that I could see him having an acting career after his dancing days are over. When he first appeared to pay homage to Marguerite he looked earnest and unformed. I never would have thought Marcelo Gomes could look dorky, but that he did is a testament to his acting skills. In the last act he was so passionate I thought the stage might erupt in flames. The whole scene where he's off on the side reading her diary, he conveyed so much shifting emotion, coming from deep inside, that he was gripping even when not moving. That's an actor!

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Loved, loved, loved "lady of camellias"! I am so glad I was able to see it! Questions: At some point of the performance, one of the extras carried a vintage looking bag I thought I recognized... Does anybody know how to get in touch with the production/producers of this performance? I would like to track down that prop. Thank you!!!

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The pianist was wonderful. (I don't have my program to identify him by name.)

His name is Koji Attwood and he's tremendous. I hope he starts getting better known; he deserves it. He's a great transcriber too, he did transcriptions of Schubert's Death and the Maiden and Tarrega's Recuerdos de la Alhambra which are fabulous.

Actually, Soheil Nasseri was the pianist onstage in Acts 1 and 2 and also for all of act 3 from the orchestra pit. Koji Attwood played Acts 1 and 2 from the pit.

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Solino is absolutely correct. Here's a complete run-down of the music performed (all Chopin of course)--

Act 1: Soheil (on stage)--1 page excerpt of 3rd sonata, 3rd movement

Koji (in pit)--Piano concerto #2, Op. 21 (complete)

Act 2: Soheil (on stage)--Valse brilliante, Op. 34 #1, Ecossaise Op. 72 #3, Waltz Op. 34 # (excerpt)

Koji (in pit)--3rd sonata, 3rd movement (complete), Prelude Op. 28 #2, #17, #15, 3rd sonata, 3rd movement (excerpt), Prelude Op. 28 #2 and 24

Act 3: Soheil (in pit)--Grande Fantasie, Op. 13 (excerpt), Ballade Op. 23, Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise, Op. 22, Piano Concerto #1, 2nd movement, 3rd sonata, 3rd movement (excerpt)

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